What is in this article?:
- Five ways to improve Western alfalfa yield, profitability
- Second - Manage alfalfa harvests
- Correct stand establishment pays dividends
- Herbicide timing is everything
- The five top ways to improve western-state alfalfa yield and profitability involve irrigation management, cutting schedules, fertilization, proper stand establishment, and herbicide timing, says UCCE alfalfa farm advisor Steve Orloff.
- The grower should determine precise crop water use, Orloff says.
The easiest and fairly accurate way is with soil moisture sensors.
Herbicide timing is everything
Orloff’s fifth top yield-profitability practice is the timing of herbicide applications. While growers often have the best intent when applying herbicides, sometimes they underestimate the actual weed infestation and treat it too late.
This can reduce the long-term profitability of the stand, in part tied to reduced alfalfa plant vigor.
“Weed control is crucial to prevent weed seed production. If you don’t, you’ll be living with weeds for a long time,” Orloff said.
Many weeds can produce more than 200,000 seeds per plant. The goal should be a near zero weed tolerance in seedling stands.
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